Dune: Book Review by Dinh.
Here is a novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet of Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family- and would bring fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
I am so late to this party! I have had Dune by Frank Herbert on my to be read list for such a long time and finally I picked it up to read over the holidays.
Silly me, why did I wait so long?
I had seen Dune the movie a few times already, in the 80s when it came out (84) and then later, and loved the movie. (Sting was in the movie).
With foresight, I knew I would love this book and I did! I can see why it can be said to be the best written science fiction book out there.
This iconic book is set the gold standard for sci-fi books to follow. I don’t think I will be able to do it justice to express how this book has impacted the sci-fi genre.
So I will just tell you exactly what I loved about this book. Let’s see….
Fantastic Story Line:
Set on harsh desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune, this story line is basically about power struggle, and plots within plots to gain power.
Dune is based on a feudal society. Noble families govern planets in an imperium where Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV rule.
At the beginning of the book, we see the transfer of stewardship of Arrakis by imperial order to House Atreides, from the long governing tyrannical Harkonnens.
Here’s where the plot thickens and the rivalry among the noble house start plot and set up traps all so they can get control of the spice production. Spice is the most valuable commodity in the universe. Whoever controls the spice has the power.
I love the different threads of each noble house and what motivates them in the interstellar power struggle. The struggle to attain power is through having control of the melange- a spice that is only available on Arrakis, which enables space travel, among other things.
One of the best thing is about Dune is how the story line intertwines political, religious, environmental, and mysticism concepts in a thoughtful and insightful way making the reader reflect on the human condition and its moral dilemmas.
The themes in Dune are very applicable to what’s happening in 1965 when the book was published, and also now, especially with climate change.
Another interesting aspect of the story line is the backstory of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. The Bene Gesserit who consists of entirely women, have a secret breeding program that have been in play for centuries.
Their goal is to produce a male Bene Gesserit who would become Kwisatz Haderach, a super-being having the special abilities to see into time and space. This is an interesting take on a eugenics program.
I liked the pace of the book. The story line moved along quite quickly and it did not lose its depth while doing so.
The writing is clear and the layout of the chapters with a box filled with information was a nice touch to add to the story. It gave the reader more insight to the world created by Herbert.
What a wonderful cast of imaginative and amazing characters!
I loved the main characters and the supporting characters.
Whilst there were other outstanding supporting characters, I was mainly drawn to Paul and Lady Jessica because of their psychic abilities.
Paul’s character is very well developed by Herbert. I loved the journey Paul took from boy to Messiah, from playing a role as the possible Kwisatz Haderach to actually being the super-being.
Paul Atreides becomes Duke when his father Duke Leto Atreides is killed plotted by the evil Harkonnens. Paul is only a young 15 year old boy when this happens and we see him transform from an uncertain child into a strong man.
Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, a Bene Gesserit is an interesting character. She is strong and plays a pivotal role in helping her son. Even from birth she has taught him the Bene Gesserit way so he would strong.
What I liked about her is that although she is trained as a Bene Gesserit and suppose to do what the sisterhood tells her to do, she doesn’t go in blind but makes her own decision. Jessica was supposed to produce a girl so that it would be married off to the Harkonnens in an alliance but she chose to produce a boy for her Duke Leto Attreides instead.
Was there anything didn’t I like?
No, I really enjoyed Dune.
This is a hefty book. I would give a warning to those that are not ready for a heavy read. The book is dense and if you haven’t seen the movie or know anything about it then the terminology can be a bit much.
You may have to go to the appendix at the back of the book to get acquainted with the terminology. It will give you the Ecology of Dune, Religion of Dune, Report on the Bene Gesserit Motives and Purpose, Terminology of the Imperium and Cartographic Notes.
My Final Thoughts:
Dune is a timeless sci-fi classic that should be read by fans of this genre. It’s great plot- an epic saga of a power struggle in an interstellar empire, and fantastic cast of characters will pull you in and stir your imagination whilst making you think about certain issues.
This is a must read for any sci-fi and fantasy fans. I highly recommend you to read this!
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Have you read Dune or seen the movie or TV series based on it? Did you enjoy Dune?
27 thoughts on “Dune Book Review”
Dune is a roman that deals with Governance in its broad definition, this is why it is a book that remains pertinent. The Genius of the author was to combine a timeless topic with an exotic and original setup.
Glad you enjoy the reading !
Hi Dune SF!
I totally agree with you. Dune is so original and has great characters that it has become a must read for sci-fi fans.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Great review! Like you I saw the movie first and I find the themes in the story very interesting. Later on I started to read the book but I stopped and never went back to finish it. Lately I was looking through my stuff and couldn’t find the book. Luckily I came across your review and now I’m able to order it again. Not only is it a well written story but it also brings up difficult themes that need to be discussed (but are usually ignored like climate change).
It is indeed one of the great Sci-Fi classics of all time.
I have seen Dune as an option in Netflix when I scroll through looking for something to watch, but I didn’t realize that it was such a big deal in the Sci-Fi book world! I will absolutely have to pick up a copy and read it for myself now!
I’ve always really enjoyed great science fiction books ever since I was young. And a story is always ten times better when it has a cast of unique and lovable characters in it. I often times find my self getting attached to the people I relate to most when I read.
Thanks for the great review! You’ve got me excited for it now!
I think Dune set the gold standard for sci-fi.:)
It’s full amazing characters and what a wonderful plot!
Hope you enjoy your read!
Hiya, Dinh – a great review here.
At last a book I’ve read that’s better than the movie but I recall that Herbert’s depth of character and plot can sometimes cause disruption – while reading I ended up checking the terminology and forgetting some of the plot – so it can be a problem to some-one of little attention span such as….erm, er…I forget.
You can always tell the quality of a really good story by it’s timelessness and this book is of that quality. What a shame we can’t buy spice legally ‘coz they say it addles yer brainz.
Unfortunately I got completely lost when I started reading the sequels so I gave up on this series but I do recommend Frank Herbert to anyone who wants a decent sci-fi yarn with moral overtones rather than just a shoot out among royal families.
Another really good series of sci-fi I loved is by Julian May – The Golden Torc series.
Keep up the excellent reviews, Dinh – I really enjoy reading them so thank you for your hard work.
All the best – Andre
So nice to hear from you…and so glad that you’ve read this sci-fi classic and watched the movies/shows.
I completely agree with you that you can tell it’s a good story because the themes are timeless and the book is good quality stuff.
I haven’t read the sequels but will do so at some point. I have been told by others to not go further when Frank Herbert son takes over the series.
I haven’t heard of the Gold Torc series but will keep my eyes open and check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!
It’s been good to hear from you Andre! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂
Oh mate, what a great review and sound like a book for me, Simon Watson, does it ever lol. Now in all seriousness your review really sold me on the idea of reading this fantasy “novel” so big thanks to you as undoubtedly, I never would have otherwise heard of it.
I am glad this looks interesting to you and hope that you get a chance to read this epic sci-fi classic!
Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for the great review and thorough I must add on this classic novel! Wow! You make me want to read the book all over again as I read it as a teen! Will be looking for a good used edition shortly!!
I am glad I reminded you how good this book is.
This book has been around for a long time and I am glad I had the chance to read it.
I’m an 80s girl so I also enjoyed the movie.
A friend of mine actually recommended this book to me. However, I do have a question about this book. Is it necessary that I read the other series of these books? I don’t want to read it if it’s something I won’t have any idea of what is going on if the other books in the series lead up to it? Kind of lost on this. So, I figured I would go ahead and ask you.
Dune is actually the first book and so I would recommend you to start with this one.
I haven’t read the subsequent books so I am excited to read them soon.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy Dune as much as I did. 🙂
I do enjoy a good sci-fi. Dune sounds quite unique and the world-building is super complex. I am really intrigue that spice is the choice of currency. Remember Christopher Columbus? 🙂 I’d like some of this mystical, magical dust to help me travel. I’m glad you enjoyed this book so much and thank for the hefty warning. 😉
Dune is very unique and I love the message it conveys as well.
I would recommend you to read this as it’s a classic must read along with the other good sci fi books.
Thanks for popping in! 🙂
An interesting review of this science fiction classic which would appeal more to my wife who is mad on sci fi novels! I will give her a copy of your review so that she can make a judgement on whether to buy the book.
Dune is definitely worth checking out if your wife is a sci fi fan.
I thoroughly enjoyed both the movie and book!
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I have not read this book at all, so this is really my first exposure to everything which is happening here. But it sounds like you really enjoyed reading this one, and like you managed to learn a lot from the book as well. I like how it was applicable to the past situation, but then the irony in it still being applicable today as well!
Dune is science-fiction at its best! I did learn quite a bit from reading this book. Not only was it entertaining and fun to read but it did make me think about issues such as global climate problems.
It’s amazing that Herbert wrote this book in 1965 and the problems that existed then are still here, and looming.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I have to admit I am not a great sci-fi fan but I did seen the film a very long time ago. What I will say though is that reading your excellent, in depth and beautifully written review has made me go searching for my son’s old copy of the book and give it a read.
You have really brought the book to life for me and, being an avid reader, I will find a gap in my diary to start reading it.
Great review, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I am glad to hear that you will give Dune a chance.
I don’t think you have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this book. I think that the classic theme of power struggle and the conniving to get the power are themes that most people can relate to. The only difference is that it’s set in space. I love stories that have rivalry among people and how they plot and scheme to get what they want…
You are such an inspiration, Dinh! What we are talking about here is an epic book that has sealed the scientific imagination! It is a brilliant book and ideal for anyone who wants to read something good from science fiction books! It’s so good for me to remind and search for the movie. It is a movie that I want my husband to see as soon as possible!
Dune has made such an impact on the sci-fi community and rightly so. I just loved the world that Herbert has created. What an imagination!
Hope you enjoy the movie with your husband!
Dune sounds great, I’ll definitely give it a chance once I finish the book I’m reading. Being a sci-fi fan myself, I’ll be bookmarking your site since you give fluent and thorough reviews. Would you recommend I watch the movie first?
I definitely think you should check out Dune if you’re a sci-fi fan. The book is excellent!
I loved the 80s make of Dune (and the subsequent books) and saw the movie before I read the book. The movie is a bit cheesy now but I love it anyhow.
I would read the book and then watch the movie. I usually find books better than the movie.
Thanks for stopping by!
This sounds like an interesting read. I love sci-fi stories. I’ll definitely check out this book and the movie too as I haven’t heard of it before. Thanks for the recommendation!
I hope you enjoy Dune as I loved it!
It’s so creative…
Thanks for stopping by!